As you may know, I was diagnosed in 2000 when I was 36 years old. Who knew back then how much research would increase to give us all real hope for a cure for myeloma. The IMF has even launched clinical trials named “CURE” Trials!
I attended my first ASH, I believe in 2005. I remember at the time being on high-dose dexamethasone (40 mg/day, four days on/four days off). Times sure have changed for the better for myeloma patients since 2000! We used to say to “save your options,”and treatment was done in “sequence”– not “combination.” Today, the combinations are many, and we better understand mechanisms of action and how/what drugs to combine to combat myeloma into a remission.
Every year at ASH, brings updates and new research information. At my first ASH, there was only one day of myeloma abstracts. Last year, there were 935 myeloma-specific abstracts. Interesting stat, that according to National Cancer Institute, that 935 number of abstracts, is equal to one piece of new research for every 124 myeloma patients. Wow!
To quote an old Bob Dylan song, “The times, they are a-changing . . .” Interestingly enough this video is from 1964, the same year I was born.
While we all wish there was no such disease as myeloma, we are very fortunate that we have excellent research going on!
Speaking of research, I am excited to hear updates about the targeted CAR-T cell therapy as well as the antibody drug conjugates. What is a drug conjugate, you may ask? Well, here is a link to a cartoon to help understand just what “conjugate” means.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the International Myeloma Foundation for thinking outside the box and being the first organization to bring myeloma patients to ASH. We learn first-hand, and share our information and experience with our local myeloma communities at home as well as around the world through our blogs and tweets. I’m also thankful for the IMF’s signature research initiative, The Black Swan Research Initiative® (BSRI) aimed at developing a definitive cure for myeloma. I was fortunate that just a few weeks ago, I was invited to go to Iceland to hear updates on iStopMM, the first large-scale screening study aimed at preventing myeloma before it develops–iStopMM = Iceland Stops Treats Or Prevents Multiple Myeloma.